International staff at AAU can continue to get help and support. The International Staff Unit, which has been providing assistance and support to AAU's international staff since 2018, will continue in 2021 and beyond – as just decided by the Executive Management.
The decision runs counter to what the very same Executive Management decided at an extraordinary meeting in May. At that meeting, falling revenues and economic uncertainty meant that the ISU, established as a strategic initiative, had to be closed down. The ISU was financed by strategic funds until mid-2021 and there was no money in May to continue the unit once the strategic funding expired.
But money has now been found, and that means the ISU can continue to support the university's international staff.
- The decision to stop funding the ISU led to surprisingly many reactions and inquiries to me personally – both from international staff members who had been very pleased with the help and support they had received from ISU regarding their employment at AAU, and from the management team, who pointed out that the departments and other units would be hard pressed without the services the ISU provides, says Rector Per Michael Johansen.
He acknowledges that closing down the ISU was the wrong decision:
- The Executive Management listened to the arguments put forward from several individuals and units throughout the organization and decided that the ISU should continue to be part of the services we offer to international staff members at AAU. The ISU works best and is less costly as a central unit; closing it down could end up as both a more expensive and worse solution if similar services were instead decentralised across the university, explains Rector Per Michael Johansen.
The ISU will be financed from existing Shared Services funds from mid-2021, but as of 2022 the ISU budget will be reduced by one full-time equivalent.
ISU in brief
The International Staff Unit (ISU) was established in 2018 to provide professional support and personal guidance to all international staff and visiting researchers at AAU.